From high school sports to student privacy, it seems like every day we hear another story of how transgender ideology is affecting school-aged children. What’s worse is that many academic and medical organizations have signed onto this belief that you can change your biological sex.
We need a voice of reason.
Thankfully, Dr. Michelle Cretella is such a voice. While many in the medical field are beginning to cast aside the best interests of children and endorse transgender ideology, despite little scientific basis, Dr. Cretella has consistently stood for truth.
As a medical doctor and the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), Dr. Cretella advocates for soundly scientific, commonsense approaches to treating children who suffer gender dysphoria. But major medical organizations are increasingly rejecting such well-founded approaches.
When Dr. Cretella first thought about becoming a doctor, she didn’t foresee becoming an important advocate for truth and reason in the field of pediatrics.
And while most of us have no idea what our future career will be in middle school, Dr. Cretella knew that she wanted to become a doctor in eighth grade, following a presentation by a devoted mother and nurse, Anna Sullivan, who was the executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life.
It was hearing this speech that moved Dr. Cretella’s heart for the pro-life cause and sparked her career. In addition to slides that showed the horrific truth of abortion, the speaker also brought in a post-abortive woman to share her story of depression and regret.
She was moved not only with the heartbreaking story, but by the science and medicine behind the pro-life cause. She decided right there and then that she wanted to become a doctor. “That made a tremendous impact on me,” Dr. Cretella recalled, “that’s where medicine entered my mind and my heart wanted to help women choose life—I wanted to save babies and mothers.”
In medical school, Dr. Cretella landed on a career caring for children as a pediatrician to answer this call. In her 17 years practicing pediatrics, she began to notice a disturbing trend among teenagers.
“It was very early on in that 17 years that I was just so struck with the prevalence of depression and anxiety in children—all the way down to elementary level but especially in teenagers,” she said “I had a real heart for the teens.”
She became a go-between, helping parents guide their struggling teens with mental health issues. Then, in 2001, Dr. Cretella experienced a health crisis of her own when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“Based on my MRIs, the doctors thought I was going to die from it, but in the end, it turned out to be a benign brain tumor; one found only in children! And I was cured by surgery alone,” she recalled, “It was truly a personal miracle for me.”
After this miraculous event, Dr. Cretella took the opportunity to rededicate her medical practice to God, especially in helping the pro-life cause. But, as many of us can relate to from our own story, God had other plans.
“I said ‘God, I am going to be the most dedicated pro-life physician ever but you know, there is this other issue about homosexuality that’s really just beyond me.”
A few years later, Dr. Cretella’s pastor called on her to help bring her medical perspective to a local disagreement he was having about homosexuality and church teaching in a local newspaper. “It was the combination of my personal experience of every one of my lesbian patients having a history of sexual abuse, and then my pastor coming to me with his dilemma that pushed me into looking at the scientific literature. And that is when I discovered that, while sexual orientation is not a conscious choice, neither is it inborn. There are, in fact, many people who change.”
It was looking at the research on human sexuality and medicine that motivated Dr. Cretella to begin working in full-time advocacy in 2012. Her organization, ACPeds, has been a critical voice in the conversation on virtually all of the medical issues caused by the fallout of the sexual revolution: divorce, comprehensive sex education, abortion, same-sex attraction in youth, gender identity, and childhood gender dysphoria.
It’s vital that parents have a place to go for information about helping their children through confusion about their sex and many other health struggles. It’s also vital for doctors, psychiatrists, and medical students to have an organization that gives them the tools to understand and speak the truth—or even just lets them know that they are not alone.
“I have received emails from students, therapists, and multiple different categories of physicians saying that they clearly believe that sex is biological,” she says, “but if they express that, they are being sanctioned, sent to sensitivity training, or even passed over for promotions.”
Dr. Cretella’s story shows how God can use us for great things we never anticipated. Dr. Cretella and ACPeds show us how important it is to be the voice of truth even if—especially if—everyone around you is has given into a lie.
Read more about Dr. Cretella’s work in the latest issue of Faith & Justice.
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